2015-10-09 09:07

What it's about:

The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny: to become the hero who will be forever known as “Peter Pan.”

What we thought:

The story of Peter Pan was one of my favourite stories growing up (mostly because I never wanted to grow up and I am still fighting it every day.) From Disney’s animation to Robin Williams’ childhood classic Hook, Pan goes back to before Peter Pan became a legend, a time when him and Captain Hook were friends and Neverland was a mining colony.

In this tale, Peter is an orphan who gets kidnapped by pirates to work in a mine on the magical island of Neverland. He finds out he can fly and becomes hunted by Blackbeard, a man obsessed with immortality. Peter befriends another miner called Hook, and they escape into the island to find the local tribe and Peter’s mother.

The plot itself sounds like something written by a kid, although a slightly twisted kid. Everything is hyper-visualised in all the colours of the rainbow and as bizarre as possible. And how did the producers decide to get around one of the most racist Native American depictions in cinema (coughcoughDisneycoughcough)? They created a multi-racial tribe that took its fashion cues from Burning Man who disappeared in a cloud of colour explosions, and made Lily Tiger white. The tribe-of-all-races I understand (nothing they did would’ve made anyone happy) but to whitewash the pivotal Indian Princess annoyed me, especially when Hollywood has come under much fire recently for not creating and sustaining roles for non-white people.

All of the CGI and action is probably enough to fool kids into thinking this movie is amazing (and my inner child loved it all), but unfortunately as an adult you can’t help but whinge at the badly conceived plot and some terrible miscasting. Levi Miller who plays Peter was a good choice, Adeel Akhtar really captured Smie well and Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard was acceptable. I’ve already mentioned why Lily Tiger was a bad choice, but Hook was aggravating. Garret Hedlund is very pleasant to look at and I believe he nailed the mannerisms of his future self, but his forced accent did not suit the man. If it was an animation, it would have gone amiss but watching him speak and have this exaggerated fancy accent come to the fore just didn’t click.

And the serious lack of Tinkerbell made me want to shout at the filmmakers.

I also think the writer and director was misplaced. Joe Wright is known for more classical films like Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina. His expansion into the fantastical just didn’t hit the right key, and the writer Jason Fuchs wasn’t experienced enough to write a plot that made sense. A reimagining of a children’s classic like Peter Pan needed people much more invested in the story and legacy of the flying boy than just making another film.

Purely for the kids (ages ten and up) who don’t know better, as you once did when watching bad but awesome movies in your childhood, Pan has enough references to the classical story for adults to catch to make it tolerable. But if you are still in contact with that kid from many years ago, just ignore your adult self and enjoy the ride to Neverland.

Read more on:    rooney mara  |  hugh jackman  |  movies

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